When alcohol or drugs have been the top priority in your life for any length of time, it can be so hard to look beyond your addiction and find some small piece of your real self to grab onto–some little bit of who you really are that reminds you that your addiction is not ALL of you; it’s just a small part of your journey.

Even when an addict or alcoholic knows it’s time to stop, many are convinced that they still enjoy drinking or using drugs, that the benefits still outweigh the consequences. But somewhere inside, there’s another part of them that knows it’s time for a change. Getting clean and sober is the best gift you can give–to yourself and to your loved ones.

The first step toward recovery is simply deciding to get clean. Once you decide that the time is now, that you can get clean from drugs or alcohol and stay that way, it’s easier to see the series of choices you’ll need to make to get there. Set goals for your sobriety, and write them in a journal. Use that journal as an ongoing record of your progress toward your sobriety goals.

When you have set a specific and realistic goal for yourself, you can begin taking steps toward healing and establishing the habits that will help you weather the challenges of your addiction for the long haul.

The following steps have helped many people on the road to sobriety and recovery:

1) Find support for your recovery journey.

Find the right detox facility, rehab center, or recovery program for your needs. Tell someone about your goal to get sober. Find people who will support you in your sobriety. Find other people who have recovered from addiction. Start going to 12-step meetings or other recovery support groups. Make meetings a priority every week.

2) Take care of yourself.

Do you believe you deserve to live a happy and fulfilling life? If you don’t believe you’re worth the effort and energy it will take to get clean, you may find yourself stumbling early on in your sobriety journey. You may also be struggling with feelings of depression or the effects of trauma, regret, or loss. These feelings can contribute to relapse or make you feel like giving up when you’re trying to stay clean. Don’t be afraid to seek help if you’re experiencing persistent negative emotions or have concerns about your psychological well-being. A mental health specialist or counselor can help you navigate the traumas and mental health challenges you’re facing and help you stay focused on your sobriety. You don’t have to do it on your own.

3) Examine your core issues.

You became an addict for a reason, and it wasn’t solely because drugs and alcohol make you feel good. Every addict’s experience is different, but there are underlying issues and root causes of every person’s addiction. Identifying and addressing those underlying causes should be one of your top priorities in recovery. An individual therapist or specialized addiction program can give you the tools to focus on and work through your issues with clinical guidance and evidence-based techniques. If necessary, seek out an addiction program that provides treatment for co-occurring disorders to make sure you’re receiving treatment for your addiction and any mental health struggles you’re facing.

4) Don’t give up.

You aren’t alone. When you feel the weight of your addiction pressing down on you or if you find yourself doubting your ability to reach sobriety and rebuild your life, reach out to someone who understands. There are many people just like you in the world who are ready to listen when you need it and offer support when you’re struggling. Recovery support groups can provide you with a whole network of people who have gone through or are currently going through the same thing you are. Lean on your peer network and community; attend meetings, and connect with people who can identify with your journey and offer their perspective.

5) Imagine a life free from alcohol or drugs.

How has addiction kept you from living your life to the fullest? Have you missed out on jobs, schooling, or financial milestones because your addiction was holding you back? How have your relationships with family, friends, and loved ones been impacted? Do you wish you could reconnect with people who drifted away when you were in the throes of your addiction?

Now imagine a future without the anchor of addiction tethering you to certain habits, thoughts, and behaviors. What will you do with your freedom? What will you learn? Where will you go? What kind of career, education, relationships, or home will you build? You have the power to decide what shape your life will take. Getting sober and continually prioritizing your recovery is your first step toward the life you want to live.

Lasting sobriety and recovery is possible for anyone if they choose it. The right addiction treatment program and recovery support networks can set you on the path that will lead you there.

If you’re ready to get sober and start healing from your addiction, Steps to Recovery is here to help. Explore our locations or reach out to us directly to learn more about our detox and addiction treatment programs in Pennsylvania.